Community Builders

Community pitches in to raise money to help Afghanistan Veteran diagnosed with brain cancer 

The kindness of community members and a few strangers can go a long way as Patricia Whittle well knows. Within just a week, Whittle was able to raise enough money through GoFundMe for her brother-in-law who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Whittle’s brother-in-law, Steve Collins, served for more than 20 years in the Royal Canadian Navy; first as a sonar technician then, after receiving a degree, a logistics officer. Collins also served two tours in Afghanistan.

At the age of 44, Collins was recently diagnosed with Astrocytoma, a form of brain cancer. An active and physically fit person, the news was a blow to the family.

“it really struck a cord with me. Everything that happened and how it happened so suddenly,” said Whittle, also a military spouse.

Because of his illness, Collins can no longer walk and has to travel via wheelchair, and the cost of equipment can quickly add up.

“Like anyone that becomes ill and has to suddenly deal with the extra expenses, it can certainly be overwhelming. I didn’t want either of them to have to worry about taking on that extra burden, the financial burden of having to purchase equipment that’s thousands of dollars,” explained Whittle.

Whittle then decided to start a page on GoFundMe with a target of $8,000 to raise money for a wheelchair stair climber. Within a week, not only was the target reached, the funds went over the required amount thanks to donations made by friends, family members, and complete strangers.

“It certainly has shown us the goodness of’s good to know there are a lot of good people out’s very humbling as well,” noted Whittle.

As Collins continues to fight for his life, the family is looking into ways to improve the quality of life. They are hoping to acquire a car lift and are looking into what benefits they can receive from Veterans Affairs Canada. Donations are welcome.

To reach out to the family or donate visit Patricia Whittle’s GoFundMe page


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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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Canadian Military Family Magazine